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Ruling party hastily passes supplementary budget bill overnight

Ruling party hastily passes supplementary budget bill overnight

Posted February. 21, 2022 07:43,   

Updated February. 21, 2022 07:43


The ruling Democratic Party of Korea quickly passed the bill for the 14 trillion won revised supplementary budget in the early hours of Saturday on Saturday. The party had tried to increase the budget to 35 trillion won ahead of the March 9 presidential election. However, when it faced opposition from the government on grounds of the negative impact to prices and interest rates as well as from the People’s Power Party, who requested for 50 trillion won on the condition to cut down on other expenses, it decided to pass the bill on its own.

It is abnormal how the process of the revised supplementary budget was passed. When the head of the Budget Committee, a People’s Power Party member, adjourned the meeting, the assistant administrator of the Democratic Party held a meeting at 2 a.m. as acting committee leader and passed the bill in four minutes. The ruling party argued that the bill was passed in accordance with National Assembly laws as the opposition party avoided responsibility, while the opposition party called the act illegal and invalid. The ruling party remains unwavering, however, and is planning to pass the bill at the regular session of the National Assembly.

The establishment of the revised supplementary budget, which aims to distribute 3 million won to 3.2 million self employed and small business owners, had kicked off a rocky start. Presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung of the ruling party suggested the idea of putting together a revised supplementary budget using surplus tax revenues, while Yoon Suk-yeol of the People’s Power Party pledged to spend 50 trillion won in supporting small business owners within 100 days of inauguration. Against this background, the government devised a revised supplementary budget less than a month it had started to execute the super budget of 607 trillion won. But when the deputy prime minister for economic affairs opposed against the budget increase, members of the ruling party threatened impeachment or decapitation.

The ruling party’s hasty passing of the 14 trillion budget appears to be done based on the idea that it would not be able to reap the effects of the supplementary budget ahead of the presidential election which is only 15 days away. Lee apologized for the belated passing and promised to get more budgets passed. Leader Song Young-gil of the Democratic Party said that he would come up with a revised extra budget of 3.5 trillion won at the regular session. The People’s Power Party denounced this move, criticizing that the adjustments were petty acts to buy more votes and promised to help small businesses on a larger scale if they win the election.

The recent revised supplementary budget has been passed for three consecutive years ahead of election, previous budgets were passed ahead of the April 15 general election in 2020, and by-election on April 7, 2021. Supporting small business owners is critical, but additional government spending at this point where we already have public debt would increase prices and interest, potentially burdening business owners and middle- and lower-income families for the longer term. The political parties should be ashamed of their wheeling and dealing, accrediting themselves for spending public money to win votes.